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Johnny Comeback; Texas A&M Rallies To Beat Duke

postgame-links-150x1501Texas A&M 52 – Duke 48

1. Down 38-17, Texas A&M stages a furious second-half rally – scoring touchdowns on five straight possessions.

2. Johnny Manziel’s night – throws for 382 yards and four scores and runs for 73 yards and a score.

3. Mark Bradley: “Johnny Manziel didn’t win a second Heisman Trophy, but he’s still the best collegiate player in the land.”

4. Dan Wolken:  “If this was Johnny Manziel’s final college game, it was everything his career has been: Unpredictable, volatile and so, so entertaining.”

5. Will new coach Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans use their first overall pick to draft Johnny Football? (Assuming he declares).

6. Aggies senior safety Toney Hurd returns an interception 55 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

7. “Whatever else happened, whatever else happens in the future, Duke football will always have the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl…”

8. Associated Press photographer collapses on field following the game - dies early this morning.

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Carolina’s Spurrier: Shaw Could “Play Some Pro Football”

connor-shaw-helmet-offWhen Connor Shaw took over as South Carolina’s starting quarterback he was viewed as a run-first player.  But his passer rating has climbed each season (from 148.3 to 158.1 to 172.8 this year).  His yards-per-attempt line is up (from 7.70 to 8.58 to 9.24).  His completion percentage has improved as well (from 65.4% to 67.5% to 68.5% in 2013).

Add all that up and Steve Spurrier believes the Cocks’ starting quarterback will get a chance to play at the next level:


“He’s an excellent player and he’s so much better as a passer.  Anytime a quarterback can run like he can, the general thinking is he must not be a great passer because he can run so well, but his ball has gotten better this year and that’s because his foot is 100% healthy and he’s just played a lot more.  He’s an excellent passer.

Connor is doing very well.  I really believe he’s going to have a chance to play some pro football.  All those pro teams hoping to have running quarterbacks, you can see the importance…

Connor is playing at a high level.  All you’ve got to do is look at the statistics of how he plays.  We were sitting in there talking (Tuesday), the Houston Texans have thrown a pick-six in five straight weeks.  And I said, ‘Has Connor Shaw ever thrown one?’  I don’t think he has.  We were trying to figure out the last pick-six we had.

Connor, he doesn’t do those kind of things.”


The most important statistic on Shaw’s football resume comes in the Won/Lost column.  As a starter, the USC senior is now 22-4.  He’s led Carolina to New Year’s Day bowl wins over Nebraska and Michigan.  For those of you not up on your Gamecock football history, Shaw’s era is the winningest era the school has ever experienced.

Credit Spurrier.  Credit Carolina’s defense.  Credit the running of Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis.  But don’t shortchange Shaw.  As his coach pointed out, NFL scouts likely won’t when next spring’s draft rolls ’round.


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Former Tennessee Running Back Arian Foster: “My Senior Year, I Was Getting Money On The Side”

Arian Foster TennesseeFormer Tennessee running back Arian Foster admits he took money his senior year in college.  In an interview for an upcoming documentary, he’s unapologetic about it, saying  ”you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it,” and calls student-athletes “employees.”

According to Sports Illustrated, here’s a portion of what Foster said in the course of a four-hour interview.  


I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year, I was getting money on the side. I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, ‘Man, be careful.’ But there’s nothing wrong with it. And you’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it.

“There were plenty of times where throughout the month I didn’t have enough for food. Our stadium had like 107,000 seats; 107,000 people buying a ticket to come watch us play. It’s tough just like knowing that, being aware of that. We had just won and I had a good game, 100 yards or whatever You go outside and there’s hundreds of kids waiting for you. You’re signing autographs, taking pictures, whatever.

“Then I walk back, and reality sets in. I go to my dorm room, open my fridge, and there’s nothing in my fridge. Hold up, man. What just happened? Why don’t I have anything to show for what I just did? There was a point where we had no food, no money, so I called my coach and I said, ‘Coach, we don’t have no food. We don’t have no money. We’re hungry. Either you give us some food, or I’m gonna go do something stupid.’ He came down and he brought like 50 tacos for like four or five of us. Which is an NCAA violation. [laughs] But then, the next day I walk up to the facility and I see my coach pull up in a brand new Lexus. Beautiful.”

“I’m a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work. And, 100 percent, I see student athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly.”


Foster’s comments come as part of the documentary called Schooled: The Price Of College Sports. It will premiere October 16 on Epix.

Foster’s senior year was 2008 – coach Phillip Fulmer’s last season in Knoxville.  Foster went undrafted in the 2009 NFL draft and signed as a free agent with the Houston Texans.

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The Jury’s Out On Newton, But We Don’t See How A Team Could Pass On Him

The experts are all over the board when it comes to former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.  Some see him as the next great quarterback in the NFL.  Others see him as a prima donna.  Some see him as anew type of signal-caller for the pro game.  Others see him as nothing more than a high-risk project.

We at see him as being too athletically gifted for a team to pass on him.

Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News — one of our favorite SEC writers, by the way — does a fine job of showing you the wide range of opinions on Newton in his latest column.  While pundits, talking heads, ex-coaches and off-the-record personnel men are all over the board, we feel Newton will be the top pick in the draft for one reason — the Carolina Panthers can’t afford to pass on him.

In April of 2006, the Houston Texans passed on hometown hero Vince Young and Heisman-winner Reggie Bush to select NC State defensive end Mario Williams.  That decision was ridiculed.  Texans GM Charley Casserly was roasted.  The local fans wanted Young.  Many in the media thought Bush would be the next Gayle Sayers. 

Williams?  Well, he was a good defensive end but how could Houston pass on Young and Bush?

Casserly was headed out the door at the time of the draft.  That kind of knowledge can be quite freeing.  Casserly knew he wouldn’t be around to deal with the fallout of not picking the two favorites… so he could focus on making the best pick.  Even though that pick would be met with catcalls.  As it’s turned out, Casserly did make the right pick in Williams.  At least to this point in the three players’ careers.

But Carolina GM Marty Hurney isn’t stepping aside at year’s end.  And while he’s had some success overall, he doesn’t have the track record of a Bill Belichick or Bill Polian to buttress a risky decision.

Last year he selected quarterback Jimmy Clausen who the Panthers and their fanbase have apparently already lost faith in.  And there’s a reason Carolina is picking first this year — they were the worst team in football a year ago.

For that reason, Hurney is under more pressure now than Casserly was five years ago when he chose to buck conventional wisdom.  Hurney needs a home run.  Newton looks like he could be that home run.

Newton didn’t throw many passes or start many games in college, but he did excel in the toughest league in America and led his team to the national crown.  The upside — to use a word popular among NFL personnel types — is through the roof when it comes to the former Auburn star.

If Carolina feels that Newton’s head is screwed on straight, we don’t see how they can risk passing on him.  That doesn’t mean we view Newton as a sure thing.  We don’t.  But we do know that any GM who lets Cecil’s boy slide past him, is taking a pretty big risk.

No one wants to be the guy who takes Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.  And that includes Carolina’s general manager.

When first pick is called out tonight, we believe Newton will be the man walking to the podium.  The Panthers can’t afford to pass on Newton’s upside.  They can’t afford to risk him starring for someone else for a decade to come.

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Jacob Tamme’s touchdown catch

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Here is Jacob Tamme’s 2-yard touchdown catch, first of his NFL career, from Peyton Manning in Indianapolis’ win last night over the Houston Texans.

(AP photo/A.J. Mast)

(AP photo/A.J. Mast)


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